9. 30 pm: Here are the top updates from Saturday:

  • The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in its 5.45 pm update said there are 918 cases of coronavirus in the country so far. Of these, 819 are active, 79 have recovered, and 19 people have died. One person has migrated. 
  • 69-year-old man, who tested positive for the coronavirus, died in Kerala’s Ernakulam district on Saturday. This is the first Covid-19 death in the state, however, the Union Health Ministry has not confirmed it yet.
  • Over 200 citizens on urged the Narendra Modi government to provide immediate assistance to migrant workers stranded in several parts of India due to the three-week lockdown imposed to contain the spreading coronavirus. However, Centre said its India’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been “proactive, preemptive and graded”, brushing aside criticism that the 21-day nationwide lockdown imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was announced without prior planning.
  • Staff at the King George’s Medical University in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, was asked to donate a day’s salary so that the administration can purchase protective equipment for the front-line workers to tackle Covid-19. However, the order, issued on Friday, appears to have been rescinded on the same day.
  • The Uttar Pradesh government arranged 1,000 buses to ferry migrant workers trying to return to their villages amid the countrywide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

8.06 am: Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar says a 25-year-old man from Chennai’s West Mambalam locality has tested positive for coronavirus. The patient is undergoing treatment in isolation at a private hospital, and his condition is stable, reports ANI.

8.04 pm: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has appealed to all MPs to contribute at least Rs one crore from their MPLADs funds to fight Covid-19, reports ANI.

8.02 pm: Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani says the family of any police officer who dies on duty during the coronavirus lockdown will be given an ex-gratia amount of Rs 25 lakh, reports ANI.

8 pm: Union Home Minister Amit Shah conducts a meeting with top officials on coronavirus, reports ANI.

7.23 pm: Telangana Health Minister E Rajender confirms first death in the state, reports Telangana Today. He also adds that six new positive cases have also been reported.

7.20 pm: Six people, including a 11-year-old girl, test positive for the coronavirus in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Budhh Nagar district, reports PTI. This takes the total number of cases to 23.

7.12 pm: The Karnataka government has launched a food helpline number for migrant workers: 155214

7.07 pm: The number of coronavirus cases in Haryana has increased to 20, reports PTI, citing the state health department. A new case has been reported in Faridabad.

7 pm: Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar says the administration has decided to voluntarily contribute one day’s salary of regular teaching and non-teaching staff for the month of April to Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. “Let us all be part of our nationwide united effort against coronavirus,” Kumar says, according to ANI.

6.58 pm: Visuals of a large number of migrant workers trying to board buses from Delhi’s Anand Vihar.

6.41 pm: The total number of confirmed cases in India has breached the 900 mark, according to the health ministry’s latest update. There are 918 cases of coronavirus in the country as of Saturday evening. Of these, 819 are active, 79 have recovered, and 19 people have died. One person has migrated.

Credit: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

6.01 pm: In Uttar Pradesh, visuals of migrant workers walking along a highway in Ghaziabad’s Indirapuram area.

5.56 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has allowed municipal bodies to purchase medicines and food for daily-wage workers and the poor as well as fodder for “gaushalas” out of municipal funds at their disposal, reports ANI, citing the public relations official of the state government.

Punjab has also allowed gram panchayats to buy medicines and food for the workers and the poor out of panchayat funds. Each gram panchayat has been given the authority to spend up to Rs 5,000 every day, subject to spending a maximum of Rs 50,000.

5.53 pm: The Telangana government announces that production and manufacturing units that require continuous process, such as pharmaceuticals, may continue to function. Manufacturing units engaged in production of essential commodities like dal mills,rice mills, dairy units, food have also been permitted to operate, reports ANI.

5.51 pm: In Himachal Pradesh, Kangra Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Prajapati says all 16 samples tested on Saturday tested negative, reports ANI.

5.43 pm: Visuals of migrant workers lining up at Uttam Nagar Bus terminal in Delhi.

5.27 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announces the creation of an assistance and emergency situation relief fund where people can contribute and help the government to tackle the coronavirus spread. “People from all walks of life expressed their desire to donate to India’s war against Covid-19,” he tweets. “Respecting that spirit, the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund has been constituted.”

He urges people to contribute to the fund.

5.22 pm: Arvind Kejriwal says most developed countries are not able to contain coronavirus, cites United Kingdom.

5.20 pm: “Please stay wherever you are,” says Arvind Kejriwal to migrant workers.

5.18 pm: Kejriwal urges people not to leave Delhi and follow the lockdown imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to contain the coronavirus spread.

5.17 pm: Arvind Kejriwal says arrangements for feeding 4 lakh people is done. “We have established more than 825 centres to provide food for the homeless and needy people,” he adds.

5.15 pm: He says the government is distributing food in over 500 schools and 238 night shelters amid the lockdown.

5.11 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal address media about the coronavirus situation.

5.05 pm: Raman R Gangakhedkar, the Head of Epidemiology and Communicable diseases at Indian Council of Medical Research, says a reduction in the viral-load has been observed in patients who have been given hydroxychloroquine drug, reports PTI.

5 pm: The Union Health Ministry says social-distancing, lockdown can play important role in breaking chain of transmission of the virus, reports PTI.

4.52 pm: Five people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Noida, says District Magistrate BN Singh.

4.50 pm: Ministry of Home Affairs Joint Secretary Punya Salila Srivastava says the government has requested states and Union Territories to set up relief camps with arrangements of food and water for migrant workers.

4.44 pm: Rajasthan health department reports four new coronavirus cases, taking the total to 54. The fresh cases include two nursing staff of Bangar Hospital in Bhilwara city, according to ANI.

4.42 pm: Maharashtra Health Ministry says eight new coronavirus cases have been reported in the state, according to ANI. This includes seven in Mumbai and one case from Nagpur.

The total number of cases in the state rises to 167.

4.40 pm: Industrialist Ratan Tata says that the Tata Trusts has pledged Rs 500 crore to provide protective equipment for medical personnel on the frontline, testing kits, modular treatment facilities and training for health workers among other provisions to tackle the coronavirus crisis.

4.34 pm: Ministry of Home Affairs Joint Secretary Punya Salila Srivastava says, according to ANI: “We have requested states and Union Territories to set up relief camps with arrangements of food and water for migrant workers. States and UTs should also spread awareness about these arrangements via public address system, volunteers and NGOs.”

4.30 pm: Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar of the Indian Council of Medical Research says 400 people have been tested in private labs so far, reports ANI.

4.21 pm: Union Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agrawal says the ministry’s focus is now on hotspots where a large group of cases are being recorded. “We are working with the states,” he says. “Our focus now is to get the health infrastructure ready for COVID-19 patients. Ours is a graded effort. Have asked CGHS to issue three months’ medicine to patients.”

4.16 pm: The Union health ministry briefs the media on the Covid-19 situation in the country.

3.47 pm: The Karnataka administration has said 10 new Covid-19 cases reported between 5 pm on Friday and 8 am on Saturday. The total number of confirmed cases in the state has gone up to 74 that includes three people who died and five recovered persons, says State Health Department, according to ANI.

3.34 pm: Travel restrictions in China’s Wuhan city, where Covid-19 is said to have originated last year, have been partially relaxed, reports AFP. Residents are now allowed to enter but not leave the city. Wuhan has been in complete lockdown since January.

3.42 pm: In Uttar Pradesh, Gautam Buddh Nagar District Magistrate BN Singh has passed an order saying landlords may collect rent from tenants only after a month. “No exodus of workers on rent ground will be allowed in present circumstances,” the order says, according to ANI.

3.05 pm: The Union Home Ministry changes rules for State Disaster Relief Fund. It says money to be made available for food, accommodation for migrant workers, adding that medical care, clothing to will be provided to them during the lockdown period, reports ANI.

3 pm: Uttarakhand government says one more person has tested positive for Covid-19, reports ANI. The 21-year-old man returned from Dubai on March 18 and went to hospital on March 26.

2.55 pm: Jammu and Kashmir Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal seven more positive coronavirus cases have been reported in Srinagar. “Tough to be harbinger of unpleasant news,” he tweets. “But being informed is being prepared. Seven more positive cases in Srinagar today. 4 cases history of contact with already positive cases of religious congregation; other three [have] travel history outside Jammu and Kashmir, contacts being traced.”

2.12 pm: The Karnataka government says that the state run Indira Canteens would provide food packets free of cost to the poor and needy during the nationwide lockdown, reports PTI. The canteens would operate in three schedules from 7.30 am to 10 am, 12.30 pm to 3 pm and 7.30 pm to 9 pm, adds the government.

2.10 pm: Union minister Nitin Gadkari asks National Highways Authority of India chairperson, toll operators to ensure food, water support to migrant workers who are travelling on foot to reach their native villages across the country.

2 pm: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia says the government has started distributing ration for the next month in the wake of the 21-day coronavirus lockdown. “The Delhi government has started distributing ration for the next month,” Sisodia tweets. “7.5 kg per person, which means one-and-a-half times more than the normal.”

1.50 pm: Pakistan now has 1,398 cases. Of these, 11 people have died, reports Dawn.

1.37 pm: US President Donald Trump orders General Motors to make ventilators for coronavirus patients, reports BBC. He adds that the “GM was wasting time” while invoking the Defense Production Act that allows a president to force companies to make products for national defence.

1.34 pm: The Manipur Police have detained 45 people over the last few days for violating norms during the ongoing lockdown, PTI reports.

1.22 pm: The Sri Lankan Police say they have arrested 4,600 people since March 20 for violating a countrywide curfew, reports AP.

1.20 pm: The two new cases in Tamil Nadu that were reported earlier are a 42-year-old who returned from West Indies and a 49-year-old who came back from the United Kingdom, ANI quotes the health minister as saying.

1.19 pm: Indian Railways makes isolation coaches amid the pandemic. Here are some pictures from ANI:

1 pm: Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro expresses scepticism about the coronvirus toll in Sao Paulo and accuses the state governor of fudging numbers. Sao Paulo has 1,223 cases of coronavirus and 68 deaths, the most in Brazil so far.

“I’m sorry, some people will die, they will die, that’s life,” Bolsonaro says in a television interview. “You can’t stop a car factory because of traffic deaths. We need to look at what is happening there, this cannot be a numbers game to favour political interests.”

12.33 pm: Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal says the company is launching a fund called ‘Drive the Driver’ to support drivers who are without an income because of the lockdown. Aggarwal says he is contributing his salary for next year, and Ola employees will give Rs 20 crore towards the fund.

12.31 pm: Kerala reports its first coronavirus death. A 69-year-old died of the virus at Kochi Medical College today, ANI quotes Ernakulam District Medical Officer Dr NK Kuttappan as saying.

12.14 pm: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia visits Ghazipur near the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, reports ANI. “We have also provided some DTC buses to transport them [migrant workers],” he says. “I urge people to stay put where they are.”

12.10 pm: Two more people test positive in Tamil Nadu, state government officials tell PTI.

11.38 am: The United Nations says 86 staff members around the world have reported cases of Covid-19, reports AP.

11.26 am: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief MK Stalin urges his party members to help migrant workers who are leaving their homes and going to their native villages.

11.22 am: Railways set up isolation coaches.

11.17 am: The Uttar Pradesh government arranges 1,000 buses to take migrant workers to their respective hometowns, reports ANI.

11.14 am: In a letter to PM Modi, Kerala Chief Minister highlights how Karnataka blocking prominent state highway is causing problem in moving cargo.

11.04 am: Bus aggregator app Shuttl is going to cut salaries and likely to lay off people too, reports Business Standard.

In an email to employees, CEO Amit Singh said he and his co-founder will take 50% salary cuts and said staffers would have to forgo bonuses in the next financial year.

10.44 am: A United States laboratory has come up with a portable Covid-19 test that can give results in as little as five minutes, reports Bloomberg. Abbott Laboratories is planning to supply 50,000 tests a day from April 1.

“This is really going to provide a tremendous opportunity for front-line caregivers, those having to diagnose a lot of infections, to close the gap with our testing,” says John Frels, vice president of research and development at Abbott Diagnostics. “A clinic will be able to turn that result around quickly, while the patient is waiting.”

10.32 am: Huge gathering in Delhi’s Ghazipur area near Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border as the police stop people from heading to their native places.

10.29 am: Thailand reports 109 new cases and one death. There are a total to 1,245 infections and six deaths, the spokesperson of the government’s Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration says, according to Reuters.

10.24 am: Two more people test positive in Rajasthan. One is a 23-year-old man in Ajmer, who travelled to Punjab, and the other is a 21-year-old woman in Bhilwara. The total number of positive cases in the state is now 52, says the state’s health department.

10.10 am: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi urges party leaders, workers and all citizens to help migrants and poor people facing difficulties during the nationwide lockdown period.

10.08 am: A total of 2,719 people have been place under home quarantine in Nagaland, reports PTI. They have recently returned from other parts of the country. Nagaland so far has no confirmed case. “Out of the 17 samples that were sent for testing, results for 13 were negative and the remaining reports are awaited,” state Minister for Planning and Coordination Neiba Kronu tells the news agency.

10.01 am: As many as 149 new cases have been reported in India in the last 24 hours. The total cases in India now stands at 873, says the Union health ministry.

9.48 am: Mexico till now has 717 coronavirus cases, and 12 deaths, reports Reuters.

9.47 am: Six more people test positive in Gujarat, says Jayanti Ravi, the principal secretary of the state Health and Family Welfare Department. Total number of cases in the state is now 53.

9.15 am: Samples for Covid-19 testing being transported to Pune by a Naval aircraft.

9.11 am: China will share its data related to the pandemic with the US, says Donald Trump. Xi and Trump spoke over telephone on Friday.

9.10 am: The Madhya Pradesh Police file an FIR against a journalist who attended former Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s press conference despite his daughter being a coronavirus suspect after she returned from London, reports PTI.

8.59 am: Kolkata Municipal Corporation sanitises the roads in the city.

8.56 am: Donald Trump says the US is ready to supply a large number of ventilators. “Boris Johnson was asking for ventilators today,” he says. “Unfortunately, he tested positive. And that’s a terrible thing, but he’s going to be great. I’m sure he’s going to be totally great. But they want ventilators. Italy wants ventilators, Spain wants ventilators, Germany wants ventilators.”

8.50 am: Six new positive cases in Maharashtra. Of these, five are in Mumbai and one in Nagpur, says the state health ministry. The total number of positive cases in the state is now 159.

8.48 am: Australia reports its 14th coronavirus-related death on Saturday.

8.46 am: South Korea reports 146 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the highest number in a week, its disease control agency said on Saturday.

8.45 am: Italy has recorded 919 new deaths – its highest daily tally in the outbreak so far. This takes the overall toll in the country to 9,134.

8.43 am: The World Health Organisation has warned against using medications not scientifically proven to fight Covid-19, reports South China Morning Post.

“We call on all individuals and countries to refrain from using therapeutics that have not been demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of Covid-19,” said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “The history of medicine is strewn with examples of drugs that worked on paper, or in a test tube, but didn’t work in humans, or were actually harmful.”

8.39 am: People in Delhi practice social distancing.

8.37 am: Migrant workers from Delhi and Haryana are on their way to their hometowns.

8.36 am: Assam government will set up five new pre-fabricated hospitals across the state with 300 bed each in the next two months exclusively for Covid-19 patients, says health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, according to Hindustan Times. The state government has also decided to turn three state-run hospitals into centres for treating Covid-19 patients. No coronavirus case has been reported in Assam so far.

8.24 am: China reports 54 new coronavirus cases – all imported, reports PTI. The toll in the country rises to 3,295 with three more deaths.

7.30 am: An Infosys employee in Bengaluru has been arrested for urging people to “go out and sneeze” and spread the Covid-19 virus in a social media post, reports NDTV. “The person who put this post, saying people should go out and sneeze and spread the virus, has been detained,” says Joint Commissioner Sandeep Patil. “His name is Mujeeb and he works in a software company. A case has been registered.”

Infosys also sacked him. “The social media post by the employee is against Infosys’ code of conduct and its commitment to responsible social sharing,” says the IT firm. “Infosys has a zero tolerance policy towards such acts and has accordingly, terminated the services of the employee.”

7.17 am: US President Donald Trump signs into law a $2 trillion rescue plan to salvage the country’s economy, reports BBC. This is largest bailout in US history. “I want to thank Democrats and Republicans for coming together and putting America first,” the president said. This came on a day the nation saw a record 18,000 new confirmed cases of infection while the toll is close to 1,500 now.

7.10 am: The United States announces $174 million financial assistance to 64 countries including $2.9 million to India, reports PTI. The money is meant to set up laboratory systems, activate case finding and event-based surveillance, and support technical experts for response and preparedness.

7.05 am: Here are the top updates from Friday:

  • The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare last updated its website with data about Covid-19 patients on Friday morning, reporting 30 new cases since Thursday evening and 75 since Thursday morning. The toll rose to 17. State governments have reported dozens of new cases and several deaths since the data was released.
  • The Reserve Bank of India slashed the repo rate by 75 basis points to 4.4%, and allowed all commercial banks and non-banking financial corporations a three-month moratorium on payment of installments of all term loans.
  • All domestic commercial flights in India will remain suspended till April 14.
  • India is likely to join the World Health Organization’s “solidarity trial”, an international study for developing effective drugs against the coronavirus, the Indian Council of Medical Research said.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs issued an advisory to all states and Union Territories, urging them to take immediate steps to stop the mass exodus of migrant workers employed in the informal sector.
  • The Centre released Rs 4,431 crore to clear pending wage dues under the rural jobs scheme Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. In Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said 325 government schools will be turned into temporary kitchens that will offer free lunch and dinner to four lakh people.
  • Global credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service slashed its estimate of India’s economic growth forecast for the year from the previous estimate of 5.3% to 2.5% due to the rising economic cost of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Friday. Johnson, 55, is the first head of government to have contracted the infection.
  • International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva said that it is clear that the global economy has entered a recession worse than the one of 2009.
  • The total number of cases, according to an estimate by Johns Hopkins University, rose to over 5.6 lakh, and the toll to over 26,000. Of these, Italy has accounted for over 9,000 deaths, and Spain for 4,934.